Council staff vs teapots

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  • #5024

    Well, that could have gone better…

    10 years ago (blimey) I put a table and chairs outside my flat, along with some flower tubs. They were at the end of a walkway, never blocked anything/one, and always well looked after.

    table and pots

    11 days ago I got a rather threatening “round robbin” letter from the council asking that all walkways be cleared of obstructions, or else the council would do so itself and charge for the work – but also inviting discussion.

    I immediately responded to the letter, pointing out that there was no obstruction, that the pots and table were longstanding, and asking for confirmation that they truly wanted them gone.

    I heard nothing….until today when council workers removed them during the day without notice (or leaving a receipt)

    This is very bad form…I’ve emailed the contact given on the letter, though if he didn’t respond in 10 days I rather doubt I will hear from him….I’l try the phone if I get time in the morning. Grrr….


    Hey there!

    I’ve had a similar situation occur.

    My experience is that making inquiries with Camden Council results in either no reply (as in your case) or as in my recent situation where I initially had no reply – prompting me to complain – and only then did I receive a partial and unclear reply, followed by an unexpected action – the removal of my property.

    Regarding your case. I believe that as leaseholders we do have a responsibility to keep walkways clear. The Council may try to argue that you’ve not done this by placing your pots and table where they were. However, as you’ve said – they’ve been there for a decade – and undoubtedly Council employees have seen this – as well as your neighbours – both of which had ample time to speak up to indicate their belief that this was an obstruction and request that you remove them.

    I would think, as it appears you do, that an invitation for discussion sets out a process for correspondence and resolution. Which you attempted to follow. By not responding – and simply removing your property, it could well be argued that the Council has either committed a criminal act (theft if they do not return your goods – or criminal damage if they return them damaged). If reported to the police, they may agree to lay these charges. If they don’t, then it may be that you have a good case for small claims court.

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